Oliver Schindler is 25 years old, born in London, England. He moved to the US with his family as a teenager and while he misses many things about the UK, he also feels at home in Los Angeles. Schindler graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Philosophy, and minors in both Business Administration and Sociology. When he isn’t networking with Private Club connoisseurs, Oliver is an avid golfer, with a current handicap of 4. However, the biggest love in life is his English Football, in particular, Tottenham Hotspur.
Q: What professional accomplishments are you most proud of, as the Vice President Club Relations at National Golf Course Restaurant Association? How is this role pivotal in challenging you?
Oliver: I have been with the National Golf Course Restaurant Association for 18 months, and they have just celebrated their 10 year anniversary as a company, which we are all very proud about. I am immensely proud to be representing the NGCRA, whilst working with many of the county’s most renowned and prestigious private clubs.
The NGCRA currently works with over 500 private clubs nationwide, many of which have been ranked as some of the best in the world. Our main challenge will always be to ensure our clubs receive the highest level of quality and service from our partner suppliers. Over time, we strive to become the number one resource for each of our clubs’ Food & Beverage needs.
Although the NGCRA has been in business since 2009, I was tasked with the role of expanding the business in Southern California. Like with any new business, every day presents itself with new challenges, but we continue to grow and are very excited for what 2019 will bring.
I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be in an industry which allows me to visit and learn from many of the world’s most exclusive private clubs, while building lifelong relationships along the way.
Q: What are the superpowers of your team?
Oliver: The thing that makes our team special is our expertise and experience in both the private club and restaurant industry, as well as from a distributor standpoint. With that said, we have built a program that is designed specifically to lower Food & Beverage costs, without ever compromising quality or creativity. Our team acts as the “middle-men” who open doors for our distributors to service our customers.
Our objective is relatively simple; either we validate the current pricing and quality of products that a club or restaurant is currently purchasing, or we provide them with their desired order guide, but at a better price through our distributor partners.
Every month, we host many of Southern California’s most talented and experienced Club Chefs, at a different Club venue. Chefs and their F&B directors are able to sample an array of products, while collaborating and building life-long relationships with one another. We look forward to hosting our next Chefs’ Gathering at Rolling Hills Country Club’s new state of the art clubhouse next month.
Workstream’s Recruiting Tip:
Looking for an effective way to train your team to ensure that they’re experienced? Easily conduct mobile training by sending handbooks, checklists and training videos to both new hires and existing employees. These documents can be accessed anytime, and on the go, making it convenient for employees to look up these resources, and motivates them to complete them. If that isn’t sufficient, you may also review completion rates and send automatically generated SMS reminders to guarantee completion.
Q: How would you describe your leadership style?
Oliver: I have worked in several different roles over the last few years, in the Private Club industry, and with fantastic companies that have allowed me to network with many of the industry’s most talented and respected. Although I have yet to manage more than a handful of people at one time, I find that teamwork and treating everyone as a pivotal part of the process is key.
I’m a firm believer that being on a team with similar minded people can be dangerous; I try to appreciate the different skill sets each member brings with them. If I could only stress one thing to my team for the rest of my life, it would be “ you only get one chance at a first impression”.
Workstream’s Recruiting Tip:
Instill the mentality of ‘one chance at a first impression’ right from the interview process! By getting candidates to send in video resumes (or simply put, a quick video introducing themselves), they’re given exactly 30 seconds to make an impression! This is the best way to put their skills to the test, and also determine which candidates are genuinely interested in the position, and if their personality is a good fit with the team.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you have met in your career?
Oliver: Launching the NGCRA in Southern California definitely came with challenges, as any new business coming into an existing market would expect. From a personal perspective, my first challenge was always to ingratiate myself on a side of the Private Club world I had yet to explore; Food & Beverage. After serving as Director of the Platinum Clubs of the America & Platinum Clubs of the World until 2017, I was extremely fortunate to gain experience and build relationships with many of the most respected General Managers and Golf Directors both in the US and Internationally.
Today the most important people in my life are the Chefs, who have shown me a completely new world. I would like to stress how much respect I have for Club Chefs, for providing the highest level of quality to the same 500 or so members each day, many of whom dine at Michelin star restaurants all over the world. It’s no easy feat!
Q: What are some challenges or trends you see in hiring today?
Oliver: One of the things I have noticed is how suffocating the questions " what are you doing next" or "any idea what you will do after you graduate" can be, regardless of who is asking the question. With that said, I think it's fair to say it has never been harder to get a job in an industry that you love with a clear career path, especially for millennials; graduating from a top 4-year university was something people used to be immensely proud of. Today, although it still is a proud accomplishment, going to a 4-year university has now become more of a necessity, which offers no guarantees of success after graduation.
I have seen many people "settle" for roles in a company or industry that is not suited for them, in hopes that a better offer will present itself. Weighing the options seems to be a lot easier said than done.
Living in a society obsessed with keeping up with the Joneses, it's really no surprise that people (millennials) seem to prefer taking up any position that becomes available. The pressure from society, or even loved ones to be of a certain position at a company can often be overwhelming. However, one of the trends I am noticing and find refreshing in many companies is the recruitment of creative minds; there has never been a greater time in the business world to be that someone who can "think outside the box".
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Kai Lin is a freelance writer and digital marketer well-versed in SEO. Apart from writing, she also seeks solace in traveling, photography and playing the piano.